Genre: Death / Thrash / Progressive
Country: Czech Republic
Label: Bret Hard Records
Spreading Dread are a peculiar band. They are characterized as a death/thrash band by their label but that is not 100% accurate. The Czech band combines elements from many genres, something that is to be expected considering how heterogenous are the genres of music that inspire them: Black Sabbath, baroque and the old albums of Sepultura. Certainly, the combination of such a variety of sounds is inherently difficult, both to achieve the desired outcome and to the listener (carefully listening to it is more of less mandatory).
This complexity is what makes reviewing albums like the “Age of Aquarius” difficult. To be honest I am not really a fan of progressive elements but the sound of Spreading Dread got me intrigued. Their album starts with an instrumental, guitar intro and then continues to “Devolution”, an almost pure death/thrash song. And I say almost because their other influences are shown here, in this case parts with clean vocals. “Oil Stained”, the song that follows, has those sound elements in a bigger extent (and I am afraid that those parts were not of my taste). Thankfully the next 2 songs are disproportionately better that “Oil Stained” both in composition and atmosphere. One can say that “Conspiracy” has a really nice intro with a feeling of dread and horror. The album continues with the rest songs that are also pretty good and in their case the combination of different elements works quite good. For a strange reason, that I can’t really explain, they remind me of King Diamond and Mercyful Fate at some points. Maybe it’s the atmosphere in some of the songs or something else that I can’t pin down. For me that’s a plus for the band (yes, I admit it, I really like King Diamond).
Is “Age of Aquarius” a decent album? The answer is clearly yes. Would I recommend it to any death, thrash or progressive fan? Here the answer is more complicated. If you dislike some of the elements for those genres there is a possibility that you won’t enjoy this album. But if you want some different and less common I would suggest to get in bandcamp and listen to them carefully, the experience will surely reward you.